The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) is planning to transfer additional Beechcraft King Air TC-90 patrol aircraft to the Philippine Navy (PN), the state-owned Philippine News Agency (PNA) reported.
“During my last visit to Japan, the head of the JMSDF said he is inclined to give the PN more of the aircraft (TC-90) they earlier gave us,” Vice Admiral Robert Empedrad, PN Flag Officer-in-Command, was quoted as saying to the military-run DWDD radio on Wednesday.
These additional TC-90s are expected to boost the Navy’s capability in intelligence surveillance reconnaissance, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and maritime air surveillance, Empedrad added.
Japan has earlier provided five TC-90 patrol aircraft to the Philippine Navy, three of which have been activated while the other two are being equipped and painted for Philippine service. The TC-90s were donated by the Japanese government to improve the Philippine Navy’s maritime surveillance capabilities.
The aircraft, received by the Philippine Navy, were formerly in service with the JMSDF as training platforms. The agreement on the transfer was signed between the Philippines and Japan in Manila on February 29, 2017 as part pf the the Agreement Concerning the Transfer of Defense Equipment and Technology.
From November 2016 to November 2017, six Philippine Navy pilots were trained to fly the aircraft at Tokushima Airport. Philippine maintenance staff will also be trained.
The aircraft is designated C-90 in the Philippine Navy service. The first C-90 airframe was commissioned into the Navy fleet on November 2017, while a second C-90 was commissioned on 19 March this year.
The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) has operated a total of 40 C90 and C90A King Airs, with deliveries beginning in 1973.
The TC-90 has a range of more than 1,000 nautical miles and a cruising speed of 226 knots, and is capable of carrying eight passengers, along with the pilots.
The aircraft have been given various designations by the JMSDF and consist of 34 TC-90 trainers, five LC-90 transports and a single UC-90 which is configured for photographic aerial survey.
The TC-90s and the UC-90 comprise the 202nd Naval Air Training Squadron (JMSDF) based at Tokushima Air Base, while the LC-90s are attached to various Lockheed P-3 Kokutai (Squadrons) and a Air Transport Squadron 61 as liaison aircraft. In late 2005 the JMSDF marked 500,000 accident-free flying hours of the TC-90 trainer fleet.